Sleep is overrated

Location | Mood | Date 23 October 2008
Author (full name): 
Franny Armstrong
23 October 2008

Hi Insiders

Sorry for not keeping you updated as regularly as before. Since Lizzie left us, new gal Clare and I have been struggling. What with the trailer, the UK distribution, the international distribution, the website, the viral campaign, the single, the schools pack, the marketing, the gala fundraiser, the dodgy graphics card, the office move... oh, and I haven't even mentioned the biggest thing yet, which, if we decide to do it - which we inevitably will, as I can never let a great idea lie - will be another 18 month job for a six person team. But I'm not complaining really, as the reason everything is so mad is that the film is provoking exactly the kind of response we always dreamed of. And sleep is overrated anyhow.

The first big news is that we have finally sorted out the UK distribution deal and it is not only exactly what we wanted, but it is also a whole new era of film distribution. No really it is. You may know that the usual distribution model is that the distributor pays the producer a pittance, I mean an advance, and for that takes all rights to the film. Which means it belongs to them, the income goes through them (which they then keep 100% of by a variety of accounting dodges) and if the filmmaker wants to have a screening of the film, they have to get permission from the distributor. Clearly we were never (again) going to agree to that. But after months of discussions, Andrew Ruhemann (John's partner at Passion) and I  came up with a new model whereby we employ the distributor, we keep all the rights, the money goes through us and we just pay them a cut. Crucially, this means we will be able to allow all sorts of small-scale school/church/campaign screenings which are not usually possible. (The flipside is that we have to find the money they would usually spend on all the costs, so we will have to sell another percentage of the film - news on that soon. Not your percentages, I hasten to add, don't worry.) So anyway we went back to the distributors with the new model and said "this is our offer, take it or leave it". Most ran a mile, but three kept listening, and we are very happy to say that we signed up with Dogwoof, who last year got the documentary Black Gold into 300 cinemas in the UK. An enormously impressive number. They are now on the case persuading the cinemas to take Age of Stupid, and fingers crossed we'll be launching at Sundance in January (no word yet as to whether we've been accepted), then the London Premiere in February (we're trying to get permission to put a solar powered cinema tent on Parliament Square), followed immediately by UK cinema release. But you'll be hearing tonnes more about all that as it gets confirmed, so I won't bore you now.

The other great news/relief is that, after months of work, the new website is up and running. Crudemovie is no more. Big round of applause for Torchbox please, who have put in hundreds of hours of work and charged us the grand total of nothing for it (they are part of the deferred scheme too). Thank you, Torchbox, for a massive contribution to the Age of Stupid monster. Please could you all be so kind as to have a wander round in the next couple of days and let us know of any broken links/problems? We will then start publicising it far and wide. We haven't put it out on the public mailing list yet.

And Radiohead have provisionally agreed we can remix one of their tracks with samples from Stupid and release it as the single of the film. Amazing. The first time ever that a documentary has had a single, we're pretty sure.

Had a thrilling time last night on the Rainbow Warrior, which is passing through London. Greenpeace had invited a few climate change media types along for a tour and a chitchat. Of course we had to go for a spin in the inflatables (powered by recycled chip fat) and were screaming up and down the Thames passed all the landmarks on a beautiful crisp and warm (oops) night. It was all my childhood fantasies - saving the planet at top speed in bulky outfits with hunky people -  come true. They even said they need more female boat drivers and I could easily get in. Turning that down shows SERIOUS dedication to the film, I hope you'll agree. While we were at it, we came up with a seriously good idea for what we should do with the 250 million people the film mobilises around the Copenhagen climate summit next year. Oh, I didn't tell you about that part of the plan yet, did I? Next time.

Don't suppose anybody has any half-decent mac computers lying around that they're not using and would like to lend us for a year ?

Hope all's well with you,